Distant Memories is a musical journey through a sonic world where the musical narrative explores memories of people and places. Folksong, arranged through the language of established musical traditions, such as Western classical and jazz, weaves stories of friendship, love, and far away landscapes. Composer and pianist Ara Sarkissian and percussionist Fabio Pirozzolo will be joined by the violist Alexander Vavilov - three friends reunited in creating music for the first time after the pandemic. Each of us brings our unique voice, drawing powerfully from the tradition of our respective homelands of Armenia, Italy, and Eastern Europe to create an experience where original composition, re-arranged folk song and improvised soundscapes coexist. After more than a year of forced separation and profound loss for all of us, this touching tribute to distant friends and lands holds a special place in our hearts.
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Fabio Pirozzolo is an Italian drummer, multi-percussionist and singer currently based in Boston, Massachusetts. Originally from Terracina, Italy, he started his career as a folk percussionist, playing Italian frame drums tamburello and tammorra, in one of the most famous folk groups in his area. This experience gave him the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, playing concerts and giving lectures on regional Italian frame drum techniques. A Berklee College of Music (BA Summa Cum Laude) and Tufts University (MA in Ethnomusicology) alum, he performs in virtually any genre of music from jazz to world wusic to rock. He’s the co-founder of the world music ensemble Sawaari and Grand Fatilla and Italian folk music ensemble Newpoli where he plays percussion and sings. Highly in demand both as a drummer and as percussionist playing percussion for Revma Greek Ensemble and the eclectic Armenian Jazz ensemble Musaner. His experiences led him to drum for Herb Reed’s Platters, Mario Frangoulis, George Perris, Jon Butcher and Petroloukas Halkias among other world class performers, performing in world renown music venues such as Scullers, Jazz at Lincoln Center and performing for outreach programs curated by Carnegie Hall in New York. He taught master classes at Berklee College, Harvard University and Tufts University and worked at Emerson College and Boston Conservatory as an accompanist for dance classes. He’s the author of the drum transcriptions for Berklee teacher Skip Hadden’s drum books "Profiles in Jazz Drumming" and "Broken Eight’s Time Feel". His transcriptions are also featured on the Italian drum magazine "Batteria e Percussioni", "Batteria", "Percussionista" and on Polish drum magazine "Top Drummer".
Ara Sarkissian is a pianist and composer living in the Boston area. After completing graduate studies in music composition, Ara pursued a musical path that crossed the established musical traditions of Western classical, jazz, traditional folk song and improvised music. His musical adventures have included leading the improvisational Palimpsest Ensemble, releasing The Komitas Project, where he started experimenting with setting archival recordings to music as well as electronic musical collage, and leading the critically acclaimed group musAner, a jazz-folk outfit that has performed in various cities in the US as well as Italy and Switzerland.
Ara draws from his training in classical music as well as his interest in folk music and improvisation to create a unique soundscape based on melodic expression, rhythmic playfulness and fluid musical structure.
An avid chamber musician, recitalist and orchestra performer, violist Alexander Vavilov enjoyed playing under the batons of Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Kurt Mazur, Rafael Fruhbek de Burgos and David Zinman. His chamber music collaborations include James Buswell, Barbara Westphal, Ronald Leonard, the Borromeo Quartet, Lynn Chang and Rhonda Rider. As an orchestra musician Alexander plays regularly with BMOP, Odyssey Opera, Portland Symphony, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, New Hampshire Chorale and others. He also served as principal violist for the Atlantic symphony for 9 years since 2005. Alexander has performed symphonic and chamber music on stages of Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall and others. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Sarasota, Monadnock, Meadowmount and Bowdoin. In 2003 Alexander won the 1st prize in the Massachussets ASTA competition advancing to national semifinals after which he was among a handful of string players selected to go to national finals. He was also a finalist at the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra concerto competition and won the 2009 Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award. Alexander is the violist featured in CD accompanying Janice Tucker Rhoda’s ABC’s of Strings method book for viola. He completed his Bachelor's and Master's degree at Boston Conservatory as a student of a former BSO associate principal Patricia McCarty, and did his Graduate Diploma at New England Conservatory studying with a renowned viola soloist Kim Kashkashian
Artwork by Rob Goor